California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Brian, who is studying psychology, and Divontay, who is studying to be a medical assistant, on the center quad at Cañada College in Redwood City on October 21, 2019.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Divontay: Yeah. There are certain requirements and certain things you’ve got to follow. As my grandma says, “If you religious, then you got to do good.” You can’t do anything bad. You’re restricted to certain things. You can’t do drugs or you can’t drink, things like that. I believe in God, yeah. 

Brian: I might not exactly believe in a God, but I do believe something’s up there. Either a being as God, or being as substance, or someone, or something. I guess it just comes out of coming from a Catholic home. I guess I have the same values: you have to be good, no drinking. But personally, I’m in between. If something’s up there, something’s up there. I’m just trying to do good. 

Do you believe there’s evidence that something’s up there?

Brian: Not exactly. I don’t know. It’s a very confusing topic because it’s proven, I guess, that there’s not really anything up there. At the same time, there are other things that are not explained, like the way you feel. Religion, it could be different. I know most articles say it’s because we humans try to hold onto something that we know is structured so we can understand it. 

Divontay: Well, as my grandma says, there’s enough evidence in the Bible. That’s what she always says, so that’s what I go by. I don’t really know if there’s evidence for everybody else to believe in, because, for certain people, it’s hard to believe in God because they weren’t raised where they were taught about God or they don’t see the point of believing in God because they live their everyday lives normally and they’re comfortable. So they don’t see a point of believing in a higher power. There’s a story that’s really personal that I don’t really like to share, but is why I believe and God. If someone asked me, I would probably tell them that. 

Does your family still practice the Catholic faith?

Brian: Yes. Hundred percent. I was atheist for a while, I think that’s what turned me, they’re a very strict Catholic. Our house every Sunday would go to church and like, every special occasion wake up at 3 to go to a specific meeting. I think more as I grew up and more as I understood things are changing, they understood. Sometimes yes, going to church is pretty on top of your values, but make sure your kids eat because you have work. My mom quoted, if God really wanted me to, he would give me a sign, but you were the sign to keep you living and make sure you’re okay first before going to something else. Yeah, I come from a strict home, that’s why my values are so high up. I keep my head up and stuff like that.

You’ve talked about your values, what do you think about abortion?

Divontay: It’s all up to the person because yes, you’re killing something that’s not even born yet, but at the same time it’s up the person if they can handle it and handle the responsibility of raising it. Because if you bring it into the world, it’s still going to be difficult because if you can’t take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of the baby, which means it’s going to be suffering with you. So some of them think it’s best to get rid of it because they don’t want the baby to suffer.

Brian: Abortion is for sure killing something, but I think it’s really up to the person. I think because I come from Hispanic background, we are Catholics, we’re very strict on it, my parents have had a conversation, if I do get a girl pregnant, “Just abort it. We don’t like life suffering, but you’re not ready for that.” And I think their experience too, they’re like, “We weren’t ready, why would we make you go through that?” I think it comes back to the love thing. They say they still love me, it’s just, “Don’t. You’ve still got a lot of things learn.” They go back to their history, “We didn’t learn most of the things we should have learned until now.” I mean it’s really up to the person, if they’re ready mentally, surrounding-wise too. 

Should it be up to the person to decide whether or not to kill their six-month-old?

Brian: I don’t think so. There’s an argument saying you could just give it up for adoption. Abortion is an outlet for many. I know for many of my friends – most of them are Hispanic – most of them were not allowed that choice. Their parents were like, “You are stuck with that mistake, now you’re going to raise it.” I know from that experience that that traumatizes them not to have someone supportive there for them and have someone in a hateful way going, “This is your mistake, look at the mistake,” every day. Going back from the values thing, one of the things is don’t be hateful, right? Love the person right next to you the way they are. 

Divontay: Pretty much all the same things. He summed up everything I wanted to say.

Why is it a loving choice to kill a baby before it’s born but not after?

Brian: For me, how I keep myself sane with it, is before it has memories, before you have an attachment. I’m not saying you don’t have an attachment when the baby’s in you, but, because I’m in that field psychology, you have an attachment when your first kid has their first words, it means they understood what you meant, the emotion you had towards them. You can’t send emotions toward the baby inside of you. They’re developing the same way a baby cow is. Then is it wrong to kill a baby cow when you eat it? I’m not saying go eat babies but I’m saying society has its own values. Right now it’s conflicted. Some people get in the scenario where they get raped. They probably definitely know that every morning they’ll look at that kid, “I’m not going to love that person.” I think it’s better than a child have a traumatizing childhood going, “My mom never loved me,” going, “I never had a kid. I never got to hate that person.” I’d rather prevent hate before it happens. 

Someone could argue that killing the baby is not loving no matter what your feelings.

Brian: Oh, for sure. I think any argument could be done with it. Any argument with anything. I don’t think this issue is going to be solved anytime soon. I like that the conversation now has started. Before it was just two groups yelling at each other. This time the groups are actually taking time to understand each other. 

If someone asked you who Jesus is, what would you say?

Divontay: He’s a guy. He’s someone I believe in. He gives me my strength and energy. That’s what I would tell him. They might be confused because Jesus and God are the same, they’re one. It’s God, Jesus, and the Spirit. Jesus is someone you can go to for answers if you’re stressed or feeling down, if you don’t know how you’re going to get through issues, or how you’re going to pay your bills. You just go to Him and just talk to Him because even though you can’t see Him, he’s still giving you strength to get you through your issues. Whatever you need, He’s there. 

Brian: Hope. Something you really hold strong and something that keeps you all together. Something that even when you lose exactly what you are missing, it will just come right back for you. Even if you feel like the world is against you, one person is still looking out for you.

California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.

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